5 Ways to Connect to Your Employeeson 10 April 2018
Many managers strive to be better leaders with ambitions that go beyond even those lofty aspirations of reducing employee turnover and improving staff productivity. Many of us, though, don’t know how to go about making those change. Here are ways that you can connect with your team and improve their teamwork.
Being a leader is more than being a manager. You may have been given a management job but that doesn’t mean you automatically have the ability to inspire and lead. Simply managing paperwork and hiring and firing employees isn’t leadership. You need to be involved with the work done by your staff and take an active interest in their accomplishments. Explaining your vision for your team and what you expect them to achieve will help to set the stage for successfully tackling this work. Set reasonable goals and make sure you are part of the team as you collaborate together to realise them. If you seem like you are watching while everyone else is working, then you aren’t really leading.
Personal vs Personnel
It is important to connect with your staff and to see them as people, rather than simply human resources. On the other hand, you need to refrain from having an overly personal relationship with your employees or for singling out one or two people. You want to seem fair and concerned, not like you are playing favourites. It’s important to avoid socialising with a few select employees and then giving them promotions or the best assignments. Leaders allocate jobs and bonuses based on merit rather than on which individuals have most ingratiated themselves to the manager.
So be fun without being inappropriate, be supportive without being too familiar, be empathetic without being tolerant to a fault. Look to understand the challenges that staff face, providing them with the tools they need to successfully deal with them.
Sadly, the focus on being productive has often led to less emphasis on the workers, themselves. Rather than bringing tasty treats for their employees to enjoy, many managers find themselves watching the clock and telling their employees to work ever harder. Conversely, this can negatively impact performance. Studies have found that having a good working environment and a positive outlook can have a bigger impact on productivity than efficiency programmes.
Don’t wait until the annual Christmas party or summer picnic to show an interest in your staff. It is far more important to show appreciation on a year-round basis. Employees place much more significance on the routine actions of their company’s management than they do on these types of annual events.
Yearly bonuses are important but so is showing your appreciation in other ways. Annual performance reviews can be perceived by employees as focused on what more they can do for the company rather than how their work is important and valued. To avoid this scenario, make employee recognition a key part of your management strategy. This can include small positive comments during the day, an effort to recognise employees whenever a project milestone is reached, or quarterly reviews that actively seek to recognise your team’s accomplishments.
A few words of encouragement can go a long way toward keeping your business a good place to work. There are plenty of ways to document employee contributions during the year. Formal recognition awards can help workers have more pride in their work and certificates of appreciation that can be displayed in their offices can inspire more loyalty and dedication.
Protect Your Team
Managing employees is more than managing their work. It includes doing your part to identify the kinds of obstacles they may face and help manage any problems around them. Your staff need to know that you are there for them and that you are doing your best to provide them with a positive working environment. Obviously, you can’t prevent policies that are beyond your control from impacting your employees. You can, however, do your best to keep people informed about company changes. Knowing that you are doing what you can to keep their interests in mind as you work together towards collective goals will help foster loyalty and boost motivation.